Subscribe to our update feeds:

. Movies in Brief
(Second quarter, 2008)

Cinema Signal:

The Grand
Writer-director Zak Penn, ("X-Men: The Last Stand," "Fantastic Four"
) with an assist by writer/executive producer Matt Bierman, takes his mockumentary predilections into the Poker world. It's an attempt to mine some comedy by spoofing TV gambling shows and the oddballs who come to the tables, but satire has been dealt better hands with less bluff.

Penn's long suit is the funny character and he loads the deck with a few of
his favorites, including an equal length of footage for his old collaborator on "Incident at Loch Ness," Werner Herzog as "The German", a rabbit loving, self-described animal killer and card pro playing his "role" of dangerous hardnose for all it's worth. Every character at the tables come with an "identity" to throw his opponents off their game. One of the more pitiful is "Sob Story," a man who's opening line to everyone he meets is, "My mother is dying of cancer."

Cheryl Hines, one of the "finalists," is relatively straight and the married one, mother of four, and the odds on favorite for the straight gallery. She's sure the prettiest. The need and greed folks, annoying and sometimes amusing, are out in comedic splendor for the prize of $10 mil, while the story revolves most predominantly around One-Eyed Jack Faro, (Woody Harrelson) a well-loved man with so many ex-wives he's forgotten who they are. He's also the owner of the Rabbit's Foot Casino by inheritance, where the games are staged. He's running the risk of losing the place if he can't win enough to hold off Billionaire Steve Lavisch, (Michael McKean) his debtor who wants to tear it down as part of a redesign of the Vegas Strip. Jack's chances aren't assured but low odds for amusement is yours for the buy-in.

Cinema Signal:
Sex and Death 101
With a title that implies a lesson in the basics, it must be noted that this is filmmaking 101 as well. And, for a comedy, the funniest thing
connected to the project are the press notes from writer-director Daniel Waters.

This rudimentary package starts off with a bit of the supernatural, with "the Oracle," a mechanical wall fixture with vertical openings, spewing out predictions about life, sex and death. Three attendants, named Alpha, Beta and Fred, are there with it in an antiseptic, all white room, apparently to interpret things about life. Somehow, an Oracle-generated list of debonaire lady-killer Roderick Blank's (Simon Baker) past and future sex partners comes into his possession and is soon proven to be oracularly accurate. Blank has a field day taking advantage of the sure conquests, from one-night stands to true romance.

While this is going on another serial conqueror is making headlines with her trail of "dates," men who somehow wind up dead once she's had her way with them. She's known as Death Nell, aka, Gillian De Raisx (Winona Ryder) and she's the last name on Blank's bootie list. Yes, he has his destiny mapped out... but could there be a way out for the hapless Casanova?

Told with all the urgency of sophomoric mentality, it's none too well directed with many a moment of rank awkwardness saved by cutting away. There are also some sketchy laughs but they never threaten the piece with such post-teen concerns as wit. Male teenagers may, of course, pay to see this for the titillations and a flash or two of prurience, but satisfaction is not guaranteed.

Cinema Signal:
Documentarian Heddy Honigmann covers a timeless subject, the last resting place of some major figures in the arts. The subject, of course, supposes that there is universal fascination with such detailing and that it goes to a realm of appreciation that has nothing to do with morbidity. Her presentation makes a good case for it and for the appropriateness of special reverence.

Her setting is the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, final resting place for artists from various periods in history and widely diverse disciplines. Here you find the graves of Piaf and Proust; Jim Morrison and Chopin. Painters Jean-Auguste Ingres and Amadeo Modigliani; poets Apollinaire and Elisa Mercoeur; singer Maria Callas and actress Simone Signoret add to the cast of artists that speak to us through their graves and through the centuries.

Honigmann speaks to the visitors and self-appointed caretakers from behind her camera, eliciting facts and details about the artist to whom each individual devotes lifelong worship. There's a taxi driver who tidies up the grave of Sadegh Hedayat and sings his own song for the benefit of the interviewer. These contributions add singular value to what might have otherwise been a series of moving stills and simple sentiment. It would seem that to do the subject justice, it calls for a worldwide tour rather than confining it to one gravesite, albeit a major one. But Honigmann's more limited venture adds up to a quiet, reverent meditation on world culture without a hint of commerciality.

In French with English subtitles.

Cinema Signal:
Lost In Beijing (aka, Ping guo)
This is so sloppily made it's a wonder that an actual story emerges. But, despite the wobbly hand-held camera and other technical short cuts, it explores the permutations of an unplanned pregnancy and surrogate parentage involving four people. If only director Yu Li and co-writer Li Fang didn't depend so critically on bridging plausibility with coincidence.

Like... when An Kun, (Dawei Tong) an office building window washer, starts on
his next panel and is startled to see his wife Liu Ping Guo (Bingbing Fan) having intercourse with her boss, Lin Dong (Tony Leung Ka Fai). Once that wholly contrived and preposterous bit of timing is out of the way, we have a husband full of wrath, working hard to get over his wife's betrayal and trying to squeeze some money out of the nouveau riche employer in order to make him pay for his immorality.

Resisting such a shakedown at first, it becomes a whole other matter to Lin when Ping Guo turns up pregnant. Presuming himself to be the father, Lin offers the couple a great deal more than originally requested for signing a contract to bring the child to term, deliver it, check it for matching blood type and, if it's his, breast-feed it for a period and then leaving him and his wife with the baby. Lin's wife Wang Mei, (Elaine Jin) also betrayed by her husband's actions, has a few things to say and do about it, as well.

You don't wind up thinking much of any of these characters and sympathy is "lost" somewhere around the time the frantic camera style makes you dizzy. The acting is on firmer ground, however and, once into it, there's some interest in how it will all turn out and to see what contrivance will be plotted to resolve the individual agendas. Taking it seriously as a universal social issue is a challenge.

Cinema Signal:
Water Lilies (aka, Naissance des pieuvres)
In a school in a Parisian suburb, a teenage girl is facing issues unlike most of her contemporaries. Here, where synchronized swimming is a major activity, Marie's (Pauline Acquart) interest in the water artistry that the team is capable of leads to a close friendship with one of the swimmers and an intense fascination for another that arouses feelings she never experienced before.

The first, Anne, (Louise Blachere) is a kooky, overweight planner who has a schedule for her sexual development that requires a first, real kiss. For this, she has her eye on Francois, a good looking member of the boy's team, not accepting that he's a little out of her league. She makes a play for him, not knowing he's already involved with Floriane, (Adele Haenel) the sultry, sensual captain of the synchronized swim team.

Marie is also under Floriane's spell, and can't keep her eyes off this superconfident beauty despite the team's dislike for her air of superiority. Marie approaches Floriane for help in getting into the team's practice sessions. Floriane rejects the idea at first but when Marie offers to do anything Floriane asks of her, a special relationship between them is born. It will lead to unusual closeness and a bit of lesbian contact for the purpose of defloration. But Floriane's queenly demeanor and shifting interests turn Marie back to her comfort zone, the one, non-manipulative friendship she knows.

Debuting Celine Sciamma wrote and directed this personal, moody look into a girl's first feverish adoration and awareness of the hormonal impulses inspiring it, though the film, for all its virtues as a coming-of-age study, is too slow, too single dimensional to create much of a stir beyond arthouse and hothouse interest. The close-ups of Acquart's classic beauty are well worth the screen time.

Cinema Signal:
Before you go thinking this has something to do with the Cosa Nostra or some political dynasty let me first say it's about debunking the New Testament and the divinity of Jesus. In other words, it's yet another spawn of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code." There's so much energy devoted to this theme that if it were otherwise harnessed it could fuel your car for a month. Or, does it just seem that way?

In any event, this yet-another-probe into the possibility of proving Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had progeny was undertaken by Bruce Burgess whose main calling card is the curiosity that goes with the subject. We watch these things because we wonder if this filmmaker has, at last, uncovered something that could shake up the institutions of religion. Or, not. Burgess, in any case, has added another notch to his portfilio after "uncovering" the mysteries of Bigfoot, the Holy Grail and the Bermuda Triangle. So, why not this prime subject?

If you've seen any of the subject's predecessor films, you'll already know that the usual suspects include the Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion, priest Berenger Sauniere and the supposed site of a tomb in or around the Church of Mary Magdalene at Rennes-Le-Chateau in France. When a film attempts to document the discovery of objects purported to be from the first century, strong doubts about authenticity must be aroused. Especially when the material is manhandled is such an unscientific manner. Here lies hoax and charlatanism.

As the culmination of a three year project in which Burgesss and producing partner Rene Barnett followed a trail of buried clues, they record with a remote camera an underground tomb containing a mummified body draped by a white shroud with a red cross on it, a symbol of the Knights Templar. If, as the filmmakers say, the French government has been shown the footage and that plans for a full scale archaeological examination of the site is true, we should be reading about the results of it in the newspaper one day soon.

Who knows? Perhaps Burgess has brought us closer to a real revelation. If it turns out that way, his documentary should turn into a runaway hit.

Cinema Signal:
The Children of Huang Shi
An eight-year dedication to telling the story of George Hogg, a journalist who covered the Nanking genocide and went on to care for sixty orphans in desperate circumstances, has resulted in a reverential but mostly artificial historical drama. The problem seems to be a script that's bogged down in narrative and doesn't exactly know how to dramatize the material, to the detriment of the fine actors involved.

George Hogg (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) graduates Oxford in 1938 with a hunger for adventure and finds a subterfuge to get to China as a war correspondent. Throwing himself into the worst of the raging battle, his naive notion of war is shaken when he witnesses a massacre of 200 Chinese. It isn't long before he's noticed and comes within a sword's edge of getting his head lobbed off when he's rescued by a band of guerrillas headed by "Jack" Chen (Chow Yun Fat).

After witnessing the execution of his best friend and barely escaping the same fate, his wounds and physical exertion bring him to a makeshit field hospital where he's cared for by Lee Pearson (Rhada Mitchell), a self-trained American nurse, introducing sexual tension into the story. But a romance is submerged under the demands of the war and personal circumstances. A beautiful woman who delivers her services in several places, she lodges Hogg for his recuperation in an abandoned school at Huang Shi where he transforms a listless, undisciplined group of 60 orphan boys into a controlled, responsive set of appreciative students. Later, he leads them on a 700-kilometer journey to safety in the desert. He enjoys the warmth of his students' love and the consummation of his and Lee's mutual attraction.

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode working from that eight-year development of a script by Jane Hawksley and James MacManus, the film labors for an epic-justifying, way-too-long 125 minutes and a feeling of exhaustion. It develops engagement only by the inspirational value of the historical subject--not by the artificiality of the presentation. Its one outstanding cinematic value is the masterful cinematography by Xiaoding Zhao whose work is close to perfection. For an audience limited to arthouse patrons and festival junkies.

Cinema Signal:
Up the Yangtze
However one may feel about a government putting progress ahead of public dislocation, the fact in China is that the Three Gorges Dam is swelling the storied Yangtze River and disrupting its life and tradition like few public works ever have, anywhere. Its effect is certainly an apt subject to be documented in film and filmmaker Yung Chang has done it, if not in a broadly defining way, in a sensitive and faithful one.

He chooses sixteen-year old Yu Shui as his central figure, combining the many adaptations the populace who lived along the old banks have to do to adapt to the submergence of their generational comfort with a coming-of-age story. As the daughter of a subsistence level farmer she helps her parents dismantle their shack and move their furniture to an apartment in a nearby town on higher ground. As mom and pop commiserate about no longer being able to grow their own food, Shui dreams of furthering her education but virtual destitution prevents it. Instead, she's obliged to seek employment. Largely spoiled by parents who doted on her, she's more fortunate than she knows to get a job aboard a Farewell Cruises ship where she comes into contact with rich tourists from rich lands.

As another girl take Shui under her wing, training her in the menial work she must master before she's allowed to serve food, the transformation to discipline and respect for her opportunities slowly rises, along with the river. All around there are people caught up in moving, complaining and, mostly, accepting their fate. Along the way, we collect a cross section view of a changing Chinese society, along with glimpses of the teeming capital city.

In a very telling stop-motion sequence seen near the end of the story, a landscape-with-river slowly turns, in stages, into full-frame river. A way of life gone. Relics of a past engulfed and swallowed up, leaving boats plying the waterway. A sad, slow lament in the music ebbs away. And, the last images of the concrete locks of the largest hydroelectric power station in the world* fades out, the Three Gorges landscape diminished.

No one, as far as we see, died. Progress advanced.

*Also claimed by Paraguay on the Parana River in Itaipu.

Cinema Signal:
Filmed in April, 2005, first shown at a festival in 2006, and put in limited
theatrical release in the U.S. in 2008, the reason for its difficulty in obtaining distribution is all too evident in the first fifteen minutes, which is all I managed to sit through. The only excuse for this amateurly written and directed project to land in a theatre is the participation of good actresses who probably thought it no worse than general TV quality.

Clearly, this fatiguing femme drama revolving around a dazed, out-to-lunch widow fighting her dead husband's sister over his cremated remains is Lifetime, Oxygen or straight-to-DVD grade level. To put it in theatres is a gross overreach and merits the rating it deserves.

Cinema Signal:
Wonders Are Many: The Making of Doctor Atomic
If you already have reservations about opera, your appreciation for the art form will likely tank altogether when you witness the process of creating a new one. But wait. There's a reason Frontline picked up this idea for a documentary by director/cinematographer Jon Else (The Day After Trinity) and it wasn't only because he could cover all the technical bases. What makes his project worth its weight in tape is that the opera is the product of one of the most important modern composers of our day and, to my mind and musical taste, the best: John Adams.

Based on Robert Oppenheimer's historic role in bringing together the leading physicists of the world to beat the nazis to the power of nuclear fusion, the libretto concentrates on the 48 hours leading up to the culmination of their secret efforts -- the successful detonation of the first atomic bomb, named by Oppenheimer, "Trinity" from a poem by John Donne. (As someone points out, it was a secret to everyone except the Russians). An opera about this? You may well ask.

The birth of a new, modern opera is no small thing, which documentarian Jon Else shows us by intercutting between the creation of a stage work in 2005 and the creation of a bomb in 1945. He takes us on a journey of associations, between director Peter Sellars' libretto (adapted from original sources, like Oppenheimer) and thought process on staging composer John Adams' opera as it's being written, the initial singer rehearsals, and a selection of historical black and white footage of the "Manhattan Project" in the deserts of Nevada and New Mexico in July, 1945, some of it recently declassified.

Moments of the singers grappling with phrases that might be more appropriately uttered by a lecturer in an academic institution than sung on a stage, with the director and composer urging them on with self-deprecating humor, are followed by the creators' reflections on the material, the profound effects Oppenheimer's work had on civilization and something of their personal vision of the art being synthesized.

The case they make for the concept, supported by the scenes and data of the event and some of its players, doesn't itself play all that well, though the shots of final rehearsals at the San Francisco Opera indicate spectacular lighting, sets and chorus choreography. What's more to the point of why one should see this film is the chance to see John Adams in action.

Nothing can quite eclipse a nuclear device, granted. But in the realm of modern classical music, this man has eclipsed most of his contemporaries. Working a corner of new music that surpasses the minimalist traditions of Morton Feldman, for example, and the ofttimes exciting technical experimentation of John Cage, say, Adams is arguably the best of his generation for his pure and astonishing musical invention.

While the inclusion of "melody" might be considered forbidden to his predecessors of this and the last century, Adams is a voice that isn't altogether alien to a modern music that is, at least, accessible. Even hummable. To some, he's (again, arguably) the best expression of 21st century freedom and originality since 20th century Russians, Shostakovich and Prokofiev. Take his "Violin Concerto" for example and tell me if it doesn't leave Philip Glass in the dust. Buy it immediately.

Powerful rhythms and typically shattering musical ideas can be heard in some of the later performance snippets that Else includes. From such brief hints, we get the sense that "Doctor Atomic" is no ordinary modern opera, and not merely because of its subject matter and the adventurous people putting it together in eloquent form for the first time. It will mostly be because of this particular composer's superb talent. Seeing him at work is a treat, whether his opera achieves the status of his prodigious orchestral work or not.

Cinema Signal:
The idea of a teenager suddenly finding himself endowed with a supernatural ability to transport himself and anyone he holds close to anywhere on the planet may ring the Spider-man button for unoriginality, but with Hayden Christensen as that fortunate person and Rachel Bilson as the girlfriend he's been trying so hard to impress, there could be some entertainment in store for the undemanding sci-fi comic book-style fan.

Unfortunately, however, the patience to see where this will go goes unrewarded as the creative team struggles to unleash some creativity and, by mid way, you wish the jumper were you. Teleporting yourself to the outer lobby would be far enough.

Samuel L. Jackson is Roland, a Paladin sworn to kill any jumper he may discover. He's relentless at it but director Doug Liman would have you buy into the notion that jumper David Rice (Christensen) is special in some way while failing to define what makes him so, save for the lad's ability to defeat his nemesis time and time again, ad infinitum.

The scenario is peppered with explosive disappearances and reappearances until you can be sure the CGI crew could do it in their collective sleep. It starts with a purpose--David rebelling at his dumb bully of a dad by teleporting into a bank vault and setting himself up in high style. A return to school pays off by reigniting the simmering infatuation with his girlfriend Millie Harris (Rachel Bilson) and fulfilling her dream of traveling--first stop Rome, Italy. There, he encounters Griffin (Jamie Bell), a fellow jumper who explains how he fits into the battle between Jumpers and Paladins. David studiously keeps it all from Millie and, as much moving around as there is, there's damned little movement in the relationship, or the plot.

Painfully dull but at least there's Bilson to look at. Christensen, who was so poor in the Star Wars prequels shows a better grasp of character fulfillment here. Diane Ladd makes an appearance as David's long gone mother and this stunning beauty never looked better. You just have to sit through too much to make the chance to see her worthwhile.

Now available on DVD. (Click title above)

Cinema Signal:
The Visitor
Gentle, realistic storytelling to a fault, this small, contained movie has, as one of its main virtues, a perfect cast, led by character actor Richard Jenkins ("Six Feet Under," HBO) in a rare starring role. He not only knows what to do with the opportunity, he makes it a shining example of credibility.

Walter Vale (Jenkins) is a 62-year old widower who has purportedly written three books, teaches economics in a Connecticut college and keeps a New York apartment. But he's essentially sleepwalking through what, at one time, were his passions. He's aware of his lassitude and tries his hand at classical piano, for which he has no real talent.

When a school assignment to deliver a paper at a conference brings him back to Manhattan, he's stunned to find Tarek (Haaz Sleiman), a Syrian man and Zainab (Danai Gurira), a Senegalese woman--two perfect strangers--enjoying the comforts of his apartment. The couple, with illegal status in the country, have been victimized in a real estate scam and have no options for shelter except the streets. Walter, touched by their plight and not indifferent to his need for companionship, allows them to stay.

His empathy is rewarded with Tarek's joyful friendship and drum lessons when Walter shows an interest in the percussion rhythms he creates at a club gig. Soon Walter has found a niche that fulfills his emotional and musical needs. His new bonds, however, are put to the test when Tarek is arrested and put in a detention facility for undocumented people awaiting final resolution, which could mean deportation. And, then, when Tarek's beautiful Syrian mother Mouna (Hiam Abbass) shows up, Walter's involvements take an even deeper aspect.

Though this is surefire material for the heartstrings and for the sentimentally inclined, there are stretches in auteur Tom McCarthy's story that defy staying awake. The constancy of its true-to-life dimensions and pacing, however, makes it worth sticking to, with such sypathetic people holding your interest and admiration.

Cinema Signal:

The Strangers
In about as simple a horror film premise as a high school screenwriting student might come up with, this night out with Scott Speedman ("Felicity," "Anamorph") and Liv Tyler
("The Lord of the Rings" series) hits the standard horror buttons to ensure a spectrum of shocks so that inveterate genre fans won't won't be demanding their money back. First time writer-director Bryan Bertino, borrowing almost to the point of plagiarism from Michael Haneke's 1997 or his 2007 version of "Funny Games," had the wisdom to cast his two leads for their inherent sympathetic qualities which, along with a generically spooky score by tomandandy, immeasurably hightens the simplistic design of the fright formula.

James Hoyt (Speedman) and Kristen McKay (Tyler) are vacationing together in the Hoyt family's remote country house. While they are clearly in love, his presentation to her of a wedding ring, accompanied by rose petals and champagne, meets with rejection on the inexplicable basis of "I'm not ready." So, after a night out they return to the homestead where, as they are engaging in bedroom foreplay, an outlandishly loud knock on the front door kills the mood outright. James cracks the door to find a girl asking about someone who doesn't live there. Sorry. Go away. Okay, back to the sheets? Not so fast.

From there it's limited variations on a theme, bringing much nocturnal grief in the form of incessant knocks, crashing sounds, appearances and disappearances by this girl and a couple of nasty, masked friends who have nothing better to do but terrorize the occupants. They proceed to mysteriously gaining access inside the house, silently moving things around to build fear, to incapacitating the cell phones, destroying James' car, and worse.

In "Funny Games," a couple is trapped in their home and terrorized for similarly inexplicable but clearly psychopathic reasons by two blond men. So, gee, one wonders where Bertino conceived his idea. Giving him his due, however, the carefully designed shocks are effective, despite being utterly derivative. The main virtue of the exploitative drama is the chance to see these two actors doing some nice work. Not Naomi Watts and Tim Roth, mind you, but engaging, until the victimization reactions wear thin.

Cinema Signal:

Poisoned by Polonium:
The Litvinenko File

Russian documentarian Andrei Nekrasov set out to document a limited group of comrades who saw and had the courage to speak about the negative aspects of Russian president Vladimir Putin's rule as a de facto dictator. For this purpose, one of his featured interview subjects was none other than ex-KGB agent Alexander "Sasha" Litvinenko. Never heard of him? Actually, you probably have.

Before the film was completed, and after a lot of footage recorded Litvinenko's case against the government and the murderous policies of its security apparatus, the case of a Russian being poisoned by an intentional dose of Polonium-210, a deadly radiation agent, was all over the international news. It occured in London in 2006 and shocked the world. That Russian was Alexander Litvinenko, silenced for his rebellious, outspoken rages against the regime.

When that happened, filmmaker Nekrasov revamped his documentary to focus on the political victim and what his assassination indicates as a new, heightened level of danger for disaffected anti-Putinists. Undoubtedly, the filmmaker thought that all his coverage of his outspoken subject before his death would make for a powerful, amply recorded statement. Unfortunately, in the cold light of objectivity, his film is bogged down by talking heads with little to no familiarity and the difficulty of associating them in the attempt to shed light.

Had I been consulted, I would have advised a liberal use of identification titles when key people in the discussion reappear, to help the uninitiated keep track of the significance behind their offerings of accusations and detail. It would also help us judge their comparative weight in the search for truth, even though a flow of charges, countercharges, theories, suspicions and political positioning does not a revelation make. This expose' isn't ready for prime time.

The taste of such criminal injustice is bitter. The appearance of Litvinenko's beautiful widow is shattering. But the editing of the film lacks the touch of a dramatist. The number of times we see Nekrasov himself suggests a wee bit more self-promotion than necessary, handsome fellow that he is. In the end, the outrage one must feel about this crime against an individual who expressed human regard and decency is conveyed, and Nekrasov's dedication to tell as much of the story as he can is more than appropriate and duly recorded.

Cinema Signal:

Finding Amanda
This unromantic comedy is something less than a sure bet. For some reason, you get the impression that it doesn't live up to the promise of its premise.

It revolves around Taylor Peters (Matthew Broderick), a compulsive gambler who'll use any deception of his loving wife Lorraine (Maura Tierney) that she'll accept if it means getting to Vegas, and lovely Amanda (Brittany
Snow), his niece who, it has been learned, is hooking there.

The promise of the piece resides in the chipper way Amanda is plying her trade with the freedom to discuss it with her uncle openly. Snow has all the beauty and feisty personality to pull this off as a farcical fantasy. The underlying theme is to expose the various hues and colors of addiction and how the effort of one to straighten out the other may have the effect of making them stop lying to themselves (and everyone around them) about their own problem.

Like said, a premise with promise. But Peter Tolan's direction is no more sure of itself than his screenplay. Awkwardness in the writing and staging plays through to the performances, which are as shaky as a first bet. Broderick's laid back style sometimes seems to lack energy and, though he's the right type for the story, his grappling with a character who is somewhere between a sad sack and a selfish self-destructor, doesn't provide much of the lift it needs. It must be added, however, that he has his comedic moments.

The funniest line comes when Amanda's live in boyfriend (or, should that be boyfiend?) Greg (Peter Facinelli), a out-of-work cooling contractor, threatens to kill Taylor if he tells Amanda he's had another woman in her home. "How," Taylor asks, "you're going to refrigerate me to death?"

The mordant humor may be reason enough to catch this light wave of situational entertainment but the real key to it is far and away the chance to catch hot Snow making her way to stardom. It's hard to gauge her level of talent from this, but she has all the benefit of looks to kill.

For more reviews, please use these links:
Cinema Signals Master List
Cinema Signals Alphabetical List
Movies in Brief, 2007)
Movies in Brief, 2008 1st Quarter

Movies in Brief, 2008 3rd Quarter
Movies in Brief, 2008 4th Quarter

The Grand
Sex and Death 101
Lost in Beijing
Water Lilies
The Children of Huang Shi
Up the Yangtze
Wonders Are Many:
The Making of Doctor Atomic

The Visitor
The Strangers
Poisoned by Polonium:
The Litvinenko File
Finding Amanda

     ~~  Jules Brenner  
Click for full list of movie reviews

(Please mention which film your comment refers to.)

Release order
Alphabetical order
To Jbmovies
(sample frames from movies photographed
by Jules Brenner)

All Reviews
Books, DVDs, Music, Restaurants

Quick Note, yo:
Your appreciation for this review resource can be expressed by a visit to our sponsors.
(just a click will do it)